GWAR and Clutch may not seem to be the most obvious of bed-fellows, one outfit are all about killer grooves and earthy sounds while the other are more likely to kill members of their own band and dismember monarchs and pop-stars. However on this occasion these acts slayed the audience in their own inimitable, if hugely contrasting styles.
Both Clutch and GWAR played a set of exactly an hour, with Clutch opening the show, but I would guess that this was as much down to it being virtually impossible for any band to follow GWAR onto the stage without a mop, bucket and some industrial fake-blood remover, as it was of either being a "headliner"!
Roaring into action like their lives depended on it, Clutch took an immediate grip of the crowd and never stopped shaking them until the very last note had been played. This truly is a band capable of laying down the thickest grooves known to man, but they do so while being note perfect and to cut to the chase, are simply one of the tightest live units you could ever hope to witness. In stark contrast to their tour mates, this foursome may look pretty much like average Joe's, but put them together on stage and they make for a hard rockin', bluesy feast that is the match for anyone. With no new album to promote (last studio album Strange Cousins From The West was released in 2009) singer Neil Fallon announced that we would be hearing some "Old shit" tonight and he wasn't kidding, with only one song "50,000 Unstoppable Watts" coming from either of the band's last two releases. However what we did get was an illustration that Clutch have been making great music from their very beginning, with amazing versions of "A Shogun Named Marcus" from 1993's Transitional Speedway League and "Big News I & II" from 1995's self titled album. The bulk of the set was culled from the Pure Rock Fury, Blast Tyrant and Robot Hives/Exodus trio of albums, with hard hitting powerhouses like "Promoter (of Earthbound Causes)" and "Immortal" being absolutely outstanding.
Whether prowling the stage like a mad bearded uncle, howling like a banshee or adding a second guitar, Fallon was in imperious form, however this is no one man show with Tim Sult hammering out killer riff after killer riff, Dan Maines pummelling his Rickenbacker to within an inch of its life, while the human blur that is drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is just a joy to watch, and I kid you not when I say he is a match for any drummer on the planet right now. The only down side was that it was all over too quickly with an hour feeling more like ten minutes! Hopefully Clutch's next visit to these shores will be as sole headliners.
So what of everyone's favourite blood spurting GWAR-riors?? Well many may dismiss them as pure novelty and while there's no denying that this show is probably more about gory, schlock horror theatrics than it is pristine perfect renditions of their songs, this is still a band who could if the mood took them, cut it without the stage-show. Let's be honest though, watching this lot in full flow is fabulous entertainment! It may all be a little puerile and just a tad silly, but who can really argue with ten foot tall foam clad villains being slain by swords longer than your average pole-vault? The fun commences with GWAR helping to celebrate the Queen's official birthday - although I don't think she normally bares her breasts, before having them severed from her body! Other treats included lead rabble rouser Oderus Urungus having intercourse with a dead swamp monster he described as his "girlfriend" and the resurrection of Osama Bin Laden, but only so he could have his face torn off before being disembowelled. Finally we get a short visit from Lady Gaga, who was rather fetchingly dressed as a toilet with a turd on her head (an improvement on her usual garb anyway!), although she did befall the same breast removing fate as our gracious Queen. Not content with that, Gaga was also given a damn good plunging before flushing herself off the stage! Obviously blood squirted, spurted, splattered and spouted everywhere, but the fanatics down the front were deliriously happy to take a crimson bath, and only those few huddled right at the back avoided the aim of Urungus's giant organ when it spewed forth! It's easy to forget that GWAR really are an incredibly effective musical outfit as well, especially the guitar pair of Balsac The Jaws Of Death and Flattus Maximus who vomit out a mighty wall of sound, with "Bring Back The Bomb", "Maggots" and "Hail, Genocide" being standout moments. Then take into consideration that this is all done while wearing bulky, unwieldy costumes and you have to say that the end results really are quite impressive.
On a night where the contrasts between the two bands sharing the stage were easier to find than the similarities, Clutch and GWAR proved that they are both masters of what they do, making for a fabulous night's entertainment from start to finish.